Las Vegas approves Raiders lease that will pay taxpayers $0 in rent for next 30 years

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority unanimously approved a lease with the Oakland Raiders yesterday, and it’s online and everything so we can look at it! Good news first:

  • The Raiders owners have to pay all maintenance and operating costs, as well as putting $2.5 million a year into a Stadium Authority Capital Projects Fund that they can then spend on themselves.
  • There doesn’t appear to be any kind of “state of the art” clause that would allow the team to break its lease if the county doesn’t provide stadium upgrades.

And the not-so-good news:

  • In exchange for its $750 million in construction subsidies, the public gets absolutely zero revenues from anything: ticket sales, naming rights, concessions, ad boards, you name it. The Raiders’ rumored $1 a year rent turns out not to be true; they will actually pay $0 a year.
  • The stadium, despite all of its revenues for the next 30 years being controlled by its private tenant, will pay no property taxes.

This isn’t quite as bad a lease as I’d feared — a state-of-the-art clause would have been a real disaster, since it would have allowed the Raiders owners to demand future upgrades in a decade or two under threat of moving again — but it’s still not very good for taxpayers. It was apparently finalized in a hurry because of the team’s threat to stay in Oakland for another year if a lease wasn’t worked out this week; Mark Davis may be bad at a lot of things, but he seems to have this whole gamesmanship thing worked out pretty well.

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22 comments on “Las Vegas approves Raiders lease that will pay taxpayers $0 in rent for next 30 years

  1. And I thought Vegas was supposed to fleece out-of-town suckers, not be the sucker that gets fleeced by one.

  2. Random thoughts about the current state of affairs of the NFL & stadium construction in general:
    As much leverage that Las Vegas and Nevada had in this deal, this is another nail in the head for the 99%…
    This deal reminds me of OLIVER, “Please sir, can I please have some more..”
    But lastly, for us poor schmucks holding out the hope of more prosperous times that will reign down from the benevolent leagues as we pick up their tab, there’s this golden line from the SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again..”

  3. I cannot believe this deal. Why aren’t the tax payers complaining? These politicians as well as the NFL are screwing all is tax payers no matter what state/city they go into and the politians are letting them.

    This is just not the NFL it’s all the other sports leagues too.

    Amazing how they sell all this to the public and then come away with not paying any annual rent AND AND AND the city won’t get any money from ticket sales, revenue, naming rights, etc.

    It’s like this every time. And the new city that takes a team from an old city are so stupid they can’t see that down the road they will be that “old city” one day.

    And as for the stadium being the best ever built. I’m so tired of hearing that each and every time they propose a new stadium.

    It’s like Judge Judy says. “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”. Not all of us are that stupid to believe you and even if the stadium was the best what does that do the tax payers? Nothing. They just have a very over priced stadium that they use for 8 regular season games and whatever concerts are traveling through town each year.

    Spend that money and tax breaks on something that WILL benefit the city and tax payers.

    Good luck Vegas because like your tag line says… whatever happens on vegas stays in vegas. You’ll be the “old city” in due time.

    1. The taxpayers had no say in this from day one, not in the south or the north. This was rammed thru by the state legislature in special session and then became the personal play toy of the Stadium Authority. The only thing the taxpayers can do is voice their anger at the polls in two years.

    2. Actually nearly all taxpayers don’t want this deal. Only those with a direct vested interest (think construction workers) do. This deal was done behind closed doors in which even politicians who were against it were shut out. It’s the worst kind of crony capitalism there is. What sickens the entire thing is Davis had no leverage. Where was he going to go? Oakland is trying to figure out ways to get rid of him now. The threat of him staying an extra year there is laughable. There is no way the NFL would allow him to back-out of this deal. Over $1 billion in free taxpayer money. They would be fools to walk away from that

      I don’t know how many more examples do people need to realize this country was never a democracy but a republic. Politicians can and will do whatever they want whenever they want however they want and the people won’t do anything about it.

  4. By the time the full ramifications of this whole deal are fully known, the state of Nevada will have diverted over a billion dollars of current and potential public funds to an NFL team. I am sickened by this.

  5. No rent? I’m surprised they aren’t paying the team to play there. After all, the Raiders may have to put in some of their own actual money to get the thing built.

  6. Does the fact that they didn’t include a state of the art amenities clause mean the team won’t demand them?

    Are the Raiders absolutely bound to the site for a particular number of years regardless of the condition (real or imagined) of the facility?

    Certainly having a clause that says the facility “must be in the top 25% of all NFL facilities as determined by, well, us as non-paying tenants” would be terrible. But if all Nevada pols have to hang their hat on is that they didn’t agree to that clause, I don’t see any prohibition against Davis (or a future owner) demanding holographic displays be invented for him, or in-stadium drones to deliver beer and pizza to well heeled fans while still in their seats (I’ll leave the “personal relief” assistant drones/robots out for now… someone might be eating..)

    1. Davis can demand those things all he wants, but given that he’s locked in to his lease for 30 years and responsible for all maintenance and operating costs, plus capital improvements, he’s not going to have much leverage other than whining.

      1. So basically the same leverage he had now in order to get this sweetheart deal?

      2. He’s locked in with no loopholes of any kind through which to escape?

  7. I hope there’s a special place in hell for all those who facilitated this fleecing.

    1. It needs to be a very big special place in hell to include all the other fleecers all over the USA, as well.

  8. The threat to stay in Oakland for another year was the hollowest threat of all. That would undoubtedly cost the Raiders money over being in Vegas where they’d be the new thing everybody wanted to see. And when you’re already going to get nothing it doesn’t hurt to wait a year to get the nothing so that threat shouldn’t have carried any weight.

    1. I’m still hoping Oakland refuses them an extension (or at least insists on some ridiculous amount of money to allow them to play at the coliseum in the interim… like, maybe enough to pay off the Mt. Davis (largely unused) construction cost).

      If they don’t want to pay to stay in Oakland, maybe they’d like to rent in San Diego or St. Louis for a couple of years?

  9. Of all the unbelievable things about this deal the most incredible still has to be how completely Sheldon Adelson was outsmarted by Mark Davis. Davis doesn’t look smart enough to balance his own checkbook but he played the billionaire businessman like some rube who just fell off the turnip truck. Adelson ran point for the entire move, used his newspaper to run constant PR, pressured politicians to get on board, and then got dumped at the 11th hour and left totally out in the cold.

    1. Funny you should mention that:

      (See my quote re Adelson, among other things.)

  10. Why pray tell do the taxpayers need to collect rent from the Raiders? We are giving them the gift of NFL football for Pete’s sake! That should be enough for the proletariat in Las Vegas.

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